If you risk nothing, then you risk everything.
– Geena Davis
The film industry has stopped stocking the shelves with actresses over 40. They’re considered expired. “Aging Out” is being brought out of the shadows; the conversation surrounding gender inequality in Hollywood is rapidly expanding. The youth-obsessed business the industry has become is creating an acidic environment .
The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film has released the latest numbers on casting of major on screen roles in 2015. Women over 40 were cast in only 29% of available female roles, while men were cast in 47% of male roles. What is then even more concerning is that Men over 50 were cast in 17% of male roles, while women over 50 were only cast in 9% of available parts.
It gets even worse once you consider that women are only cast in 33% of all speaking roles on screen. This is a 3% increase from 2014, but men still dominate the small and big screen. To get more specific that means about only 850 parts out of 2,500 speaking roles on screen were allotted to women. To break it down even further that mean women over 40 appeared on screen in only 246 out of those 850 available roles.
The breakdown gets even worse once you consider race and ethnicity. Of the roles open to women white females care in 76% of the part, while women of color are cast in only 27% of speaking parts.
It was recently announced that Geena Davis will be producing a documentary on the inequality plaguing the film industry. She will be working with the directors of “Casting By,” which focuses on bringing attention to Casting Directors who are often overlooked.
“… I started acting in the early 1980s when Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, and Sally Field had incredible movies coming out every year. I thought, ‘Wow, things are fabulous for women in the industry right now. I’d heard about this problem that, when you turn 40, the roles dry up. But these women are clearly changing this!’ I was very optimistic … Film roles really did start to dry up when I got into mid 40s. If you look at IMDB, up until that age, I made roughly one film a year. In my entire 40s, I made one movie, Stuart Little.”
– Geena Davis
Vulture May 4th, 2016